Drifting back home

Dani Winters - choreographer and dancer on The Drifters show
Dani Winters - choreographer and dancer on The Drifters show
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It might be summer outside but there’s plenty of Winters in the Grand Theatre on Sunday.

Joining The Drifters for their Masquerade show will be Blackpool-born dancer and choreographer Dani Winters – and her family will be there to cheer her along.

“It’s wonderful to be performing back at the Grand – as a grown up!” says Dani, who first set foot on its stage as a tot when she was being taught by Sue Turner.

“I was in quite a few shows and pantos, and just the thought of being back at the Grand brings back many happy memories.”

Dani says she took her first dance steps aged just two, and knew there and then what she wanted to be.

“I can’t imagine my life without dancing,” says the former Greenlands pupil, who went on to train at Phil Winston’s Theatreworks on Church Street, where she still takes the occasional guest workshop.

“Phil was fabulous, and the training I got there was invaluable.”

On graduating from there, she was straight into work – her first professional job being a Blackpool summer season as part of the Legends dance team, before heading to Europe, working on cruises and in casinos.

Dani has also worked for Range Rover, adidas and Nintendo, and alongside some of the world’s leading DJs, including Omarion, Mario, Jagged Edge, Booty Luv, Tim Westwood and Trevor Nelson, as well as performing in London’s 02 Arena.

She began moving into choreography when she wanted more independence and creativity.

“A company I had worked with before was looking for a choreographer, so I was lucky and it took me all over the place working for them,” she says.

That has included dancing and choreographing in Croatia, London, Slovenia, Madeira and Italy, as well as Beirut, the Caribbean, India and, more recently ,the USA.

On The Drifters Masquerade tour she has choreographed the group’s routines, as well as being featured in solo spots and joining them on stage.

“It’s been great working with them because they’re such a friendly group of blokes,” says Dani.

“It’s more of a production than they used to do, so the choreography plays an important part.”

She admits she is looking forward to having her “fan club” there on Sunday, when her family turns out in force.

“It won’t make me any more nervous than usual, because they’ve always been there right from the start,” she says.

As for the future, Dani says she is keeping very busy, and could even be involved in a new Broadway musical.

Michael Williams, of The Drifters, says, “Dani is a lovely charming person to work with, and she has certainly taught me and the other guys the meaning of dance.

“It has given us the opportunity to try to learn new skills.

“The most poignant moment for me is when Dani dances ballet en pointe to a song of mine in the show.

“It has added an extra dimension to our performances, and with the recent rise of reality TV shows in the areas of dance worldwide, it’s nice to think we are getting the opportunity to work with such a great dancer and keeping our performances contemporary and very much now.”